Early in the alternative history fiction TV show For All Mankind, the fact that von Braun knew about the slave labor used in the factories which built his rockets came as a shock to people working with him.

I read that it wasn't until after his death, with the release of documents related to the investigation on Arthur Rudolph, that his SS membership became widely known:

Von Braun died prematurely of cancer at age 65 in 1977 and thus missed the storm that broke out seven years later. One of his closest associates, Arthur Rudolph, voluntarily went back to Germany in 1984 rather than contest a denaturalization hearing over his role as production manager in the underground plant. The Justice Department released records relating to Rudolph, von Braun and the Mittelbau-Dora camp. Von Braun’s SS membership first became widely known then, although Communist East Germany had tried in the 1960s, with little success in the West, to publicize it.

I am curious.

  • Was it widely known that von Braun had been involved with the Mittelbau-Dora camp? In particular, would his co-workers have known?
  • Was it widely known that he had been an important figure in the Nazi war effort? In particular, would his co-workers have known?
  • Are there any records of people opposing him due to his past when he was alive? If so, how much did those people know?
  • What changed so that the US government went from recruiting him, giving him an important position and shielding him from criticism to releasing documents which showed that they had done exactly that?


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